- Published on Thursday, 09 February 2017 15:25
CBS Radio Chicago has announced the hiring of longtime radio executive and Chicago area native Greg Solk. Effective immediately, Solk takes over as the Operations Manager and Program Director for WXRT-FM/93XRT and WJMK-FM/104.3 K-HITS.
At WXRT-FM, Solk replaces the legendary Norm Winer, who was the station's Program Director for well over 36 years until CBS Radio "transitioned
" him into a new role and title in January 2016. Winer completely left the company
two months later. Kelly Ransford, who has been WXRT-FM's Music Director since December 2014 and had been serving as an unofficial interim Program Director following Winer's departure, remains with the station as Music Director. As WXRT-FM Operations Manager, Solk also replaces Mitch Rosen, who has been the Operations Manager for both WSCR-AM/670 The Score and WXRT-FM since November 2014
. Rosen remains WSCR-AM's Operations Manager/Program Director and will now focus all of his time and energies on the sports talk station.
With WJMK-FM, Solk replaces Todd Cavanah, who has been that station's Program Director since its launch in March 2011. Cavanah continues to be Program Director for WBBM-FM/B96 and WUSN-FM/US99. He also will still serve as Vice President of Programming for CBS Radio's entire Chicago cluster and will be Solk's immediate supervisor.
Said Cavanah in today's announcement: "Greg grew up listening to 'XRT as a teenager and spent decades programming against it. This is an unbelievable opportunity for us to have not only a true fan of 'XRT but a strategic thinker to make 'XRT the number one rock choice in Chicago. His deep knowledge of music's past, present, and future will keep 'XRT evolving forward by remembering the heritage of this unique Chicago brand. For K-HITS, Greg brings tremendous knowledge to the Classic Hits format and we welcome him as a partner on our programming team."
Solk started his radio career in Chicago when he was just 15 years old. He began as an intern with WLUP-FM/The Loop in 1977. From there he became a producer for such mega-talents as Steve Dahl and Garry Meier. By the time Solk was 19, he was the Assistant Program Director, and when he was just 21 years old, he was named as WLUP-FM's youngest-ever Program Director.
In 1991, Solk moved to San Francisco to become Program Director of KFOG-FM, but returned back home to Chicago in 1993 to program WLUP-AM, which became WMVP-AM. When WLUP-FM and WMVP-AM were sold to Bonneville International in 1997, Solk was among the few that stayed with the stations. He quickly moved up the Bonneville corporate ladder.
With Bonneville, Solk became Vice President of Programming and Operations for the Chicago cluster, and in March 2010, named Senior Vice President of Programming for the entire company. In 2011, Hubbard Radio purchased seventeen radio stations from Bonneville, and also absorbed Bonneville's top management, including Solk. Employed by Hubbard, he retained his same title, duties, and Chicago office, while overseeing the radio clusters of that company in seven major markets.
While Solk's programming duties were on a national level, he was well known for his micro-managing of the three Chicago stations of Bonneville/Hubbard. In fact, two of the Chicago stations have had a great deal of Program Director turnover in recent years, with some of the former Program Directors blaming their exits on programming disagreements with Solk and not being allowed to do their jobs. It was Solk's way or the highway. Solk was often accused of focusing much too much on the Chicago stations and not enough on a national level.
Despite Solk's history of successes in Chicago radio, Hubbard Radio made the decision to release him
in May of last year. He has been seeking new employment with other radio companies since then.
Said Solk today: "I have been blessed in my career to work for some amazing stations in my hometown, but this opportunity is off the charts. Everyone knows there is no station or staff anywhere in the world that can rival the 45-year heritage of WXRT - 'Chicago's Finest Rock.' I am humbled to be a part of its brilliant legacy. To be asked to also take the reins of K-HITS makes this the most exciting move I can imagine."
He added: "I can't wait to join the great team of professionals at CBS Radio. I am honored by the confidence Tim Pohlman, Todd Cavanah, and Chris Oliviero have placed in me."